When instructing beginners, I always spend a bit of time on the different Carabiner and types. There are so many types and options, and of course, climber slang to Carabiners. Whether you call it a “Krab” or “Biner”, there are lot’s of variety and options to choose from. More than just choosing a nice colour!

Carabiners are one of the most common and used pieces of kit in a climbers? rack. They are used to belay with, set up anchors, create ?running belays? and a whole host of other tasks. There are so many different choices available to you, when you come to buy your first few biners, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Even though at first glance climbing equipment looks like it comes in a million different varieties, shapes and sizes its usually not nearly as different as it looks and once you understand the basic properties of certain types of kit, it all becomes much clearer. Carabiners are a perfect example of looking far more complicated than they actually are. Below we have outlined some of the most important characteristics and differences between the various Carabiners available.

Whilst we have covered some of the bigger and most important differences there are still subtle details that make one crab?better than another for certain jobs, and to understand everything about a particular?biner?the best place to look is the manufacturers website where you will get all of the specs (and a fair bit of flowery sales schpeal!).

Locking

A locking carabiner will have some form of metal sleeve or mechanism that enables the user to lock the gate shut. These carabiners are used in situations where there is a risk of the gate being opened accidentally, typically while?belaying or building anchors.

Non-locking

A non-locking carabiner (often referred to as a?snap-gate) simply relies on the spring of its gate to keep it shut. These carabiners are most commonly used as part of a quickdraw, for running belays, to rack protection and any time where there is no risk of the gate being opened accidentally.

Screw Gate

Threaded metal sleeve covers the gate, which is manually screwed and unscrewed to open and close the carabiner. These?are the most common locking carabiners and come in just about every shape and size.

Auto-Lock

Normally a spring loaded metal sleeve covers the gate, which is manually rotated to open, but will spring closed and lock automatically when released. Recently Black Diamond launched its Magnetron range which uses small magnets built into the gate to automatically lock the carabiner when closed. Auto lockers are nearly always heavier than screw gates and a lot less widely used, but they are great for beginners? groups, children, and also big wall climbing as you have that little extra security.

Auto-locking Karabiner
Auto-locking Karabiner
Screw Gate Karabiner
Screw Gate Karabiner
Belay Specific

These are a fairly new breed of carabiner that have a mechanism to prevent cross loading. Some also will not close unless the screw gate is done up, like DMM?s Belay Master, and AustriAlpin?s OvaLock. DMM have just released their new Rhino carabiner which is specifically designed to be used with assisted belay devices such as the GriGri 2 and Trango Cynch. Instead of the normal mechanism to prevent cross loading the Rhino has a small horn which prevents the assisted device from sliding around the biner onto the back bar.

AustriAlpin OvaLock Belay Karabiner
Black Diamond Magnetron Gridlock Belay Karabiner
DMM Belaymaster 2 Belay Karabiner
DMM Rhino Belay Karabiner
HMS

A pear shaped carabiner which is especially good for using with a belay device, and Munter (Italian) hitches.They tend to have a very wide gate opening and are usually very strong. HMS stands for Halbmastwurf Sicherung, which roughly translates to munter hitch securing, because it was first designed to be used with the munter hitch .

black diamond airlock carabiner
Black Diamond Airlock HMS
Black Diamond Magnetron Rocklock HMS
Grivel Omega HMS
D-Shape & Offset D-Shape

Traditionally the strongest shape for a carabiner. Great for general rigging of belays, use with Prussiks etc. The offset D-Shape forces the rope to load the back (strongest) bar of the biner, making it very strong, and safe to use with ropes. Also has a big gate opening. Another good rigging biner. Available as a locking and non-locking biner.

Wild Country ION offset D Shape
Wild Country Titan offset D Shape
Oval

Not quite as strong as a D-Shape or HMS, although these days most are rated to 25kn (gate closed), so the screw gate versions are strong enough for a multi purpose biner. They are especially good for use with pulleys, as they allow the pulley to hang straight. Great for big wall climbing and also as a belay biner. Available as a locking and non-locking biner.

AustriAlpin OvaLock Oval Karabiner
Black Diamond Wiregate Oval Karabiner
DMM Ultra O Quicklock Oval Karabiner
Petzl OK Oval Screwgate Oval Karabiner
Solid Gate

Carabiners are only referred to as solid gate when they are non-locking. A solid gate biner is generally used for sport climbing because they tend to have smooth anti-snag noses which aid clipping and unclipping of bolts. Oval solid gates are also great for racking nuts on.

Wire Gate

Wire gate carabiners are only available as non-locking biners. Usually favoured by trad and winter climbers because they weigh so much less than solid gate biners.

DMM Revolver Wire Gate Karabiner
DMM Spectre 2 Wire Gate Karabiner
DMM Ultra O Solid Gate Karabiner
Petzl Ange Wire Gate Karabiner
Key-lock Nose

A key-lock nose will mean that the krab is less prone to snagging as the nose is very smooth. One draw back of these biners is that the gate can become blocked with snow/ice/mud which will prevent the gate closing correctly.

Hook Nose

These tend to be a lot lighter than key-locks and are great for use in the winter as they are far less likely to become clogged with snow/ice. A drawback of these biners is that the nose can get caught on bolts, holding the gate open, although many manufacturers have overcome this problem by creating?clean nose?profiles.

DMM Revolver wire gate Hook Nose Karabiner
DMM Revolver Wire Gate Hook Nose Karabiner
DMM Ultra O Solid Gate Keylock Nose Karabiner
DMM Ultra O Solid Gate Keylock Nose Karabiner

You love diving and adventure travel, so you?re taking the plunge (excuse the pun) and booking yourself on your first liveaboard! With so many options, how can you possibly decide among all the available choices? Here are a few considerations when planning the ultimate dive holiday.

Island Diving Maldives Liveaboard

Location
Research how to reach your dive adventure destination. Some trips might have different start and end points, so consider travel time. When travelling to remote areas, give yourself enough time to get there. Consider flight delays, re-routing, and religious holidays. You might not always get connecting flights on the same day.

Also consider the season. Is it ?peak? season due to weather, diving conditions, or marine life migrations? If your dream is to see manta rays, hammerheads, or whale sharks, research whether they remain year round or are seasonal.

Type of Diving
Are you looking for crazy currents? Mindblowing macro? Pelagics? Or a little bit of everything. Make sure you do your research on the type of diving available. Also consider the time of the month you are going. In some places the currents are tied to the moon phase, often with the strongest currents being around new and full moon.

Be aware if your operator has a set daily/weekly plan for dive sites. If they have a set plan that does not deviate, and you are in an area where there can be strong currents, be confident that you can handle yourself in any conditions.

Group Size
Bigger isn?t always better?

When diving, especially if the conditions are challenging, smaller groups can be much better. Up to 8 divers per group is common, but on some boats, groups can be as small as 4 divers to one guide. That?s almost personal service!

liveaboard komodo

Cost
Much like bigger isn?t always better ? more expensive does not always equate to better service. There are ?flashpacker? style boats with shared toilets, cold showers, and sleeping on deck. Then there are the luxury boats with aircon, ensuite toilets, maybe even a jacuzzi on the sundeck! You are there to dive, but consider what level of comfort and service you want on the boat also. Some divers will love the phinisi style boats that have a pirate-like feel; others prefer the roomy modern boats with wifi service and a bar.

Dive Maldives Emperor Liveaboard??

Certification and Experience
Some operators expect a minimum level of certification ? generally advanced diver ? and some may require at least 100 logged dives. This could be because the majority of dive sites are deeper, or subject to more challenging conditions. Safety first. There are also liveaboards for the less experienced divers! Consider how comfortable you are in water and plan accordingly.

Dive Safely
Above all, pick a good operator. Like any other adventure sport, diving comes with skill requirements and safety measures. On a liveaboard, you will typically be exploring more far flung sites, possibly without any other means of transportation or ready access to medical facilities. Make sure you choose an operator who is experienced in the area, knows the site very well and has a good safety record.